Relatively Speaking

The photo for this post is of a kind that has been widely debated in photographic periodicals for the last year or so, which is somewhat silly actually, and the heart of it is whether water should be rendered in full detail or if the ghostly blurring of its motion is an acceptable representation. Just as with the endless debate over the use of Photoshop™, this lightening rod seems to be losing none of its ability to draw a strike from any photographers within earshot. Of course in the long run there really is no right or wrong way of doing this and the diatribes end up being lost amongst the chatter just like the waves and ripples that drew them out in the first place. It is all relative, isn’t it? Points of view and opinions do nothing in these regions because they are simply expressions of things that exist solely within the person of the observer. As much as they may rant or rationalize there is no more substance to it than the air aspirated to speak it out.

Of course there are places where this is not so true. Take for example the moral relativism that has emerged from our societies’ efforts towards tolerance and understanding. The idea that if something works for you then that’s good for you, but it doesn’t mean it will work for anyone else has become our way of tolerating views and even actions that are contrary to our own. The deeper truth here, though, is that this is allowing us to simply ignore things that we do not want to deal with. We constantly crash into the realities of our moral choices like blindfolded participants in a daily demolition derby. Moral relativism very nicely allows us to write off the damages we inflict, but the tell is in our responses to the collisions we endure at the hands of others. This is where the substance shows itself. This is where the wheels fall off. This is where we show that we don’t really believe the lie, it just lets us keep the blindfold on. It’s more comfortable than taking it off and looking in the mirror; and would we like who we see?

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